Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me about rabies

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid.

Rabies is an infection caused by the rhabdovirus. It is typically transmitted through bite wounds from an infected animal, though cases of human infection have been reported as a result of inhaling aerosolized bat urine when visiting bat-infested caves. Common carriers of rabies include skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes.

Following a bite from an infected animal, the virus in the animal's saliva enters the victim's tissues, attaching to local muscles cells before penetrating local nerves and eventually progressing to the brain. There is an average of twenty to thirty days between the bite and a detectable virus in the brain.

Early symptoms of rabies in humans are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache, and general malaise. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

Vaccination against rabies is extremely important for pets. It's strongly recommended that even indoor cats be vaccinated as wildlife exposure is still possible.

Show all CategoriesBack